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Panasonic DMC-FX700 Digital Camera Review

Daniel Bell reviews the Panasonic DMC-FX700, offering a 14.1Mp sensor, 5x optical zoom and a 24mm f/2.2 wide angle lens.

|  Panasonic DMC-FX700 in Compact Cameras
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Panasonic DMC-FX700: Click on the thumbnail for the larger image.
Panasonic DMC-FX700 front

The Panasonic DMC-FX700 was added to the Lumix range in July 2010, with advanced functions in a slim, stylish body. With its super bright 5x optical zoom lens (24mm f/2.2 at the wide setting in 35mm terms) the DMC-FX700 aims to be versatile enough to shoot dynamic landscapes and low-light situations. The Panasonic DMC-FX700 is priced at £359.99.

Panasonic DMC-FX700: Features
  • 5x optical zoom 4.3-21.5mm f/2.2-5.9 lens (35mm equivalent 24-120mm)
  • 1,920 x 1,080 Full-HD Movie in AVCHD with Dolby Digital Stereo Creator
  • 14.1 megapixel MOS Sensor
  • Venus Engine FHD Featuring Intelligent Resolution Technology
  • iA Mode with Motion Deblur Mode and Intelligent Burst Mode
  • Intuitive Touch-control Shooting with 3.0-inch LCD and P/A/S/M Mode
Panasonic DMC-FX700 Features: Click on the thumbnail for the larger image.
Panasonic DMC-FX700 battery compartment   Panasonic DMC-FX700 top
The battery and memory card are held in the same compartment.   At just 24.5mm deep, the Panasonic FX-700 will fit perfectly in your pocket.
Panasonic DMC-FX700 front and side   Panasonic DMC-FX700 back
The Panasonic DMC-FX700 looks great and is the kind of camera you will want to show off.   The back of the camera is dominated by the 3.0in TFT touch screen.

Panasonic DMC-FX700: Handling
From the moment you pick up the Panasonic DMC-FX700 you can feel the quality that has gone into the design. If you like to take pictures of your friends when out in pubs or clubs on a weekend this camera will not look out of place and will probably have them drooling with a touch of jealousy. It looks absolutely beautiful and is small enough to tuck nicely into your pocket.

There are very few buttons on the Panasonic DMC-FX700. There is the on/off switch, shutter release, zoom rocker, dedicated video button, mode button, menu button and a switch to change from capture to view mode. The mode buttons allows you to switch from intelligent auto, scene mode, Program AE, aperture priority, shutter priority and manual exposure.

Other settings are controlled via the touch screen, where you can access settings such as exposure control, flash, macro mode, self-timer, wide/tele zoom, ISO, white-balance and many more. By pressing on the screen, the camera will focus on that point and take a shot. You can even change the zoom using the touch screen as well. The touch screen is very responsive although those with larger fingers may find it a bit on the fiddly side.

To shoot a video all you have to do is make sure you are in capture mode and press the video button on top of the camera and recording commences. When viewing your photos and videos, you just swipe your finger left or right to scroll through, similar to using an iPhone.

Panasonic DMC-FX700: Performance
The first thing that strikes when comparing the wide angle and telephoto shots is the colour in the sky. Both shots were taken within seconds of each other and the difference in the colour of the sky is quite noticeable. In fact, at its widest, it looks like I've been out on a hot sunny day, whereas the telephoto shot gives a more accurate picture of what the weather was like. So the Panasonic DMC-FX700 is certainly doing some good work with my shot and I am rather impressed with the nice colourful image that has been taken.

As you'd hope from a camera of this price range there is plenty of detail in the images at both the wide and telephoto lengths. When zoomed in to the 5x maximum, you can see plenty of detail in the lock and on the building, although a touch of detail is lost around the edges.

Panasonic DMC-FX700: Lens Performance
Panasonic DMC-FX700 wide   Panasonic DMC-FX700 telephoto
At its widest, the camera has taken a stunning picture of this lock on the Chesterfield canal.   When zoomed in to its maximum, the camera show plenty of detail.

For the novice photographer, the intelligent auto mode works really well and won't disappoint. The intelligent auto mode detects whether you are shooting a portrait, landscape, macro, night portrait, night landscape, sunset or even a baby. This means great photos can be taken easily by simply pointing and shooting. Other options available on the Panasonic DMC-FX700 include a burst mode, which can take up to 60 images a second by simply holding the shutter button which will be very useful for shooting fast action shots. The HD video is another useful feature and the quality produced is excellent, even when viewed through a 50in television.

ISO and noise performance
The Panasonic DMC-FX700 ISO starts at 100 and goes up to 1600, which is unusually low by modern standards as many compact cameras are now going up to at least 3200. With the bright 24mm lens on the camera you would expect to find ISO1600 plenty on the Panasonic DMC-FX700.

At ISO100, 200 and 400, noise is kept well under control and is barely noticeable. At ISO800 and 1600 there is a clear amount of noise, but in a fairness isn't bad at all and the pictures produced are certainly of good enough quality to be used, certainly on sites such as Facebook and Flickr.

Panasonic DMC-FX700 ISO speed test: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.
Panasonic DMC-FX700 indoor ISO100
Panasonic DMC-FX700 indoor ISO100 Panasonic DMC-FX700 indoor ISO200 Panasonic DMC-FX700 indoor ISO400
ISO100 ISO200 ISO400
Panasonic DMC-FX700 indoor ISO800 Panasonic DMC-FX700 indoor ISO1600  
ISO800 ISO1600  

Under the incandescent lights in the ePHOTOzine studio the Panasonic DMC-FX700 performs very well either using the AWB or the incandescent preset. The incandescent preset gives a slight touch of orange in the image. Under the fluorescent lights the AWB again does an excellent job. There is no present for fluorescent. Overall, you can be confident in the AWB performance of the Panasonic DMC-FX700.

Panasonic DMC-FX700: White-balance
Panasonic DMC-FX700 Auto white-balance in incandescent lighting Panasonic DMC-FX700 Incandescent preset in incandescent lighting
Auto white-balance in incandescent lighting. Incandescent preset in incandescent lighting.
Panasonic DMC-FX700 Auto white-balance in fluorescent lighting  
Auto white-balance in fluorescent lighting.  

Panasonic DMC-FX700: Verdict
If you are looking to take your photography a step further from using a basic compact but still want a small camera to fit in your pocket, then the Panasonic DMC-FX700 would be a good camera to move onto. You have some of the benefits that an SLR offers as you can use the camera in shutter priority, aperture priority and manual. The intelligent auto mode offered by the Panasonic DMC-FX700 will appeal to the beginner as well. The picture quality, ISO and white-balance performance are all excellent and would therefore be happy to recommend this camera, no matter what level of photography you are at.

Panasonic DMC-FX700: Pros
Looks great
White-balance performance
Advanced functions such as aperture priority, shutter priority and manual

Panasonic DMC-FX700: Cons:
Quite pricey


Panasonic DMC-FX700: Specification
Price £359.99
What comes in the box Battery Charger, Battery Pack, Battery Case / Stylus Pen, AV cable, USB Cable / Hand Strap, CD-ROM
Lens Leica DC Vario-Summicron 4.3-21.5mm f/2.2-5.9, 7 elements in 6 groups, 3 Aspherical Lenses, 5 Aspherical surfaces
Resolution 14.1 Megapixels
Sensor size 1/2.33in
Sensor type MOS
Max. image size 4320 x 3240 pixels
Aspect ratio 4:3 / 3:2 / 16:9 / 1:1
LCD monitor size 3.0in TFT Touch Screen LCD Display (230,000 dots)
Focusing system  
Focusing modes Normal / Macro, Macro Zoom, Quick AF On/Off (On in Intelligent Auto), Continuous AF On/Off, AF Tracking, Touch AF/AE
File types JPEG
ISO sensitivity ISO100 - ISO1600
Metering system Intelligent Multiple / Center Weighted / Spot
White-balance Auto / Daylight / Cloudy / Shade / Halogen / Color Temperature / White Set / (Selectable at Portrait, Soft Skin, Transform, Self-Portrait, Panorama Assist, Sports, Baby, Pet, High Sensitivity, Pinhole, Photo Frame, High Dynamic) / White Balance Adjustment (2-axis adjustable, ±9steps each, Blue/Amber and Magenta/Green bias)
Exposure compensation +/-2 EV
Shutter speed range 60 - 1/2000 sec
Continuous shooting Full-Resolution Image, 10 frames/sec Max. 15 images / High-speed Burst Shooting: max. 60 frames/sec / (recorded in 2.5M for 4:3, 3M for 3:2, 3.5M for 16:9, 2M for 1:1)
Anti-shake mode Power O.I.S. (Off / Auto / Mode1 / Mode2)
Movie mode [4:3]VGA: 640 x 480 pixels, 30fps (Motion JPEG) QVGA: 320 x 240 pixels, 30 fps (Motion JPEG) / [16:9]WVGA: 848 x 480 pixels, 30 fps (Motion JPEG) / {HD Movie]1920x1080 pixels,NTSC Mode: NTSC model: 60i (Sensor output is 30p) / PAL model: 50i (Sensor output is 25p) (AVCHD, FSH: 17Mbps / FH:13Mbps ) / 1280x720 pixels, NTSC Mode: NTSC model: 60p / PAL model: 50p (AVCHD Lite, SH: 17Mbps / H:13Mbps ) / 30fps (Motion JPEG)
Media type SD, SDHC, SDXC
Interface AV Output (NTSC/PAL, NTSC), mini HDMI, USB2.0 High speed, DC Input (requires optional DC Coupler)
Power ID-Security Li-ion Battery Pack (3.6V, Minimum: 940mAh)
Size (wxdxl) 103.5 x 24.5 x 55.8mm
Weight (without battery) 176g

The Panasonic DMC-FX700 costs £359.99 and is available from Warehouse Express here:

Panasonic DMC-FX700

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